Ban vows to assist in ridding Korean peninsula of n-arms

Ban vows to assist in ridding Korean peninsula of n-armsNew York, Jan 12 - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday he would provide "all possible efforts" to make the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

Ban's remarks were in reaction to North Korea's proposal to negotiate a peace treaty with the US to replace the ceasefire agreement that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

North Korea also said it would return to the six-party talks if UN sanctions were lifted. The talks, which involved China, the US, Russia, Japan, and North and South Korea, were deadlocked by Pyongyang's refusal to end its nuclear programmes.

"I reiterate my call for renewed efforts to solve all (Korean) issues through dialogue in a peaceful manner," Ban told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

"I will reserve all possible efforts to help move the process" on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, he said.

The six-party talks had in 2005 called for a peace treaty as a closure to the Korean War and a nuclear free Korean peninsula. China-backed North Korea, and South Korea, backed by a UN force, ended the war in 1953 without a formal peace treaty.

The UN Security Council last year sharpened its arms embargo and sanctions on Pyongyang's imports of nuclear technology and material after it exploded a nuclear device in May, its second since 2006. (dpa)